The Dentists

Deep Six

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The final Dentists album turned out to be something that tried to cover more bases without totally satisfying anyone. On the one hand you can sense that somebody, somewhere, suggested a more appealing (harder) sound for the American market -- wisely, the choice of producer turned out to be Wharton Tiers rather than some no-name corporate rock clown. On the other hand, the Dentists are and ever were the Dentists, and not some band to be molded into another image. So while Tiers does another fine job recording them, the Dentists on Deep Six sound unfortunately like they're starting to hit the wall a bit. The biggest contrast comes in terms of vocals versus music -- Michael Murphy still has that wonderfully sweet voice of his, but the music is all pumped up a bit more. Whereas in earlier days Murphy and the music would blend into each other just so, here he sounds a little more drowned out in comparison. The disparity produces some odd results -- "Weirdo (at 25000 Miles Per Hour)" may start with a spoken word introduction from, apparently, one of the band's legendary Japanese fans, and things do kick along well enough. At the same time, Murphy is straining like never before, vocally, and the music still sounds a touch more anonymous and thrashy. Things are by no means completely unsuccessful, as more than once the band find a perfectly happy medium all around, while Murphy's lyrics often capture the gentle balances between happiness and melancholy in the easiest of ways. Besides having a brilliant title, "My Heart Is Like a Town You Moved Away From" features just the right combination of understatement and musical extras courtesy of Natasha Briant's cello. This and other songs like the solo-acoustic-then-full band "Whole World Explode" aside, though, Deep Six isn't the best of ways, however unintentional, to bow out.

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